chapter  3
27 Pages

The critical tradition

European socialists and communist thinkers associate criminality with powerful economic, cultural forces and social injustices that are intrinsic to the capitalist system. Capitalist culture, based on the principle of competitive individualism impedes the working-class solidarity project by fostering egotism and competitiveness among the population. As capitalism developed over the twentieth century, wages increased and more workers became wealthier. Crime increased statistically in both Britain and the USA, slowly after the First World War. The British theorists placed subculture in a structural context that emphasizes the class struggle, looking at various subcultural groups. Classic subcultural theories over-predict the crime among the powerless criminality and harmful activity in society: white-collar, governmental and state crimes. Critical criminology finds ways to theorize the paradoxical condition of subjectivity in late modernity. When cultural criminology is firmly connected to the social structures, historical and economic processes which underline the contexts for cultural forms such as deindustrialization, neoliberalism and the new precariousness of the labour market.